PEST GUEST- A Hair Raising Experience

I am one of the lucky ones. Twenty years in the kid business and other than having to read “those” warning letters from school…luckily, I never had to worry about any lice issues. That was until my 10-year-old daughter, with the waist-length hair, came home with a different letter.  According to the letter my daughter was harbouring an entire civilization beneath her auburn tresses. I could not finish reading the letter because the very thoughts of any additional life forms (beyond the children), was more than I knew I had enough alcohol to combat (and no, not the rubbing type)!

our pest guest

our pest guest

The only responsible thing to do was to enter complete denial that my last name was in the addressee field on the envelope. This letter must totally belong to some other forsaken household as there is no way my children (the ones scrubbed within an inch of their lives nightly in the bath) could be the host to any insect whatsoever. Alas, a complete re-read of the letter dragged me partially out of denial confirming that we did indeed have company.

. Alas, a complete re-read of the letter dragged me partially out of denial confirming that we did indeed have company

. Alas, a complete re-read of the letter dragged me partially out of denial confirming that we did indeed have company

First trip (still in denial mode) was to the pharmacy to check with a pharmacist on what product could be used to exterminate the guests and not harm the kid. Over the years, this pharmacist has come to know my family. She insisted on conducting her own, official investigation of my kid’s unfortunate situation. Thanks to this professional I had to reality face reality. Not only did my kid deserve the lice letter (evidence of the creatures confirmed by the pharmacist), but the joint (my kid’s head) was jumping!

This is one of those moments you wish there might have been a kid-wash that I could have sent this child to (similar to a car wash/dry cleaner) where they would be humanely fumigated (including clothing) and returned lice-free, ready to go home. Sadly, no such service exists.

My friendly pharmacist (after helping to confirm this news …no longer considered that friendly) then went on to mention the effects that lice can have on your entire family. You know the drill, the washing everything you own in hot water (at least twice), the hair products, the combing, the worry, the sealing all stuffed animals/toys in plastic for weeks…all of this effort is for the average person. My family is a herd of 11! My mind raced ahead trying to figure out all the implications. I no longer wanted a kid/wash for this child I was thinking more like depositing her anonymously at a local orphanage and waiting it out.

Then my lovely pharmacist reminded me that since my child was so symptomatic the rest of the kids were likely victims of the same invasion of PEST GUEST. The orphanage scheme was looking very appealing (except even if my kids were ninjas…there is just no way to drop that big a number off at such a place anonymously, cover of night, notwithstanding). In all of this, I had a four-month-old baby. All I could think of was shaving everyone’s head (the baby only had a few wisps)…oh the thoughts my evil mind was thinking (like starting with the husband’s mop first!). It must have been a look of horror/fear on my face (as all the colour had drained away) that prompted “pharmacist-gal” to show me the products one could buy to treat these unwelcome guests. Each box of the recommended solution was about $12.00 and I would need to have two boxes, for each one of my family members … (Forget the orphanage…I need to take the baby and escape).

the rest of the kids were likely victims of the same invasion of PEST GUEST

the rest of the kids were likely victims of the same invasion of PEST GUEST

I called my pediatrician and he was able to issue a prescription that my benefits covered…thankfully. I left the store with enough ammunition to rival a commercial exterminator’s entire vehicle load of pest-combating formula.

Then along came the process of washing everyone’s hair and applying the solution. Then the comb out part with the tiny toothed comb.  Fun like you cannot imagine. The older kids were in tears from all the combing. (All I wanted to do was take the baby and run away.) Only to be followed by the excitement of cleaning up and sterilization of anything and everything. Again, more fun.

Pest-host child came home from school the next day horrified to see all her jackets and sweatshirts hanging up outside the front of the house drying. “Mom, take those clothes down or everyone in my class will know I am the one with the lice!” I answered… “Considering I got a letter …doesn’t everyone already know?” Apparently these letters are very common and go out weekly to at least one classmate’s home. At the class level, the kids are not supposed to know who has the dreaded guests (you would think scratching your head often would be a sign). Because of the numbers I deal with BOTH the front and the back yards had laundry drying everywhere.

Well, I must say I am very proud of myself as I did want to BURN everything. I washed EVERYTHING, TWICE in hot water and bravely combed everyone’s locks through two rounds of treatments.  Friends who know me and family kept more than a polite distance from the invested retinue I lead.

Then the comb out part with the tiny toothed comb.  Fun like you cannot imagine.

Then the comb out part with the tiny toothed comb. Fun like you cannot imagine.

While being ostracized by everyone (family, friends and the rest of the human race in general), my best friend was amazing. My son and her son were friends and she invited him (and I) to visit her place including a sleepover. Did she just not get what I had told her? Nah… as she said “what is a louse here or there between friends?”…besides I was being too “nit-picky”!  I was stunned. I never forgot how I felt. Someone saw past our pest guest. This friend thought I was worth more than the louse.  I learned at that moment sometimes we focus on what we are afraid of missing the reality of who we are and should be…I was an invited as a guest regardless of the potential of “Pest-Guest” tagging along.

I also discovered other products to remove these unwanted guests, some are easy, and some are messy. I resisted the urge to listen to the kids’ version of when “Arthur” gets head lice (something about mayonnaise and a shower cap…way too low tech for me)! The best product seems to be tea tree oil. You can add it to any shampoo and “PEST GUEST” disappears (child remains). If you continue to dab a little on the kids’ hair (back of the neck) each morning…you can further identify your scalp as being unfriendly before the pests move in and take over. I also hear the same is true of Lavender oil, although I have never used it. (There is something after all to that smelly bubble bath and old lady perfume smelling like lavender).

Needless to say, I still cringe when rifling through a backpack I discover one of these letters indicating some child’s family in my kid’s class will be doing a lot of laundry. Only to realize, I did live through this and in the grand scheme of things…it is not as big a deal as I had previously thought. Compared to the illnesses and accidents that can befall the school-age crowd…lice is no big deal. Though I will admit not a pleasant experience and one that make me itchy just thinking about it!


2012 in review Garden Goat Annual Report

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

19,000 people fit into the new Barclays Center to see Jay-Z perform. This blog was viewed about 90,000 times in 2012. If it were a concert at the Barclays Center, it would take about 5 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.


Blogger Awards for The Garden Goat


I was nominated in the last month by three bloggers for twice the  Versatile Blogger Award (thank you and thank you SweetP http://mylifeisgrowing.wordpress.comInspirational Award (thank you SweetP and the Sunshine Award (thank you

I was totally shocked and very overwhelmed. I had written a post in February that gained a lot of attention and I ended up hitting the “fresh pressed” wordpress list and remaining there for several days. I was inundated with comments. I tried to get back to everyone individually and so these  award nominations I left until I could discover what I needed to do to comply and have the time to respond.


The rules for these awards are all pretty much the same:

1) Thank the person who nominated you and link back to their blog (check)

2) List some random things about yourself that other people may find interesting

3) Nominate some worthy blogs and let them know

First of all I want to thank cupcakinglydeliciouscakediaries for nominating my blog “Garden Goat Quote” for the Versatile Award and the very kind words. I am married to a cake-a-holic and cupcakingllydeliciouscakediaries is heavenly. The goodies and stories a must-not-miss for sure (!

Thank you to DanLrene for nominating my blog “Garden Goat Quote” for the Sunshine Award check out this blog for photos specifically some very interesting “Faces in the Clouds”  (

Thanks to SweetP ( for nominating my blog “Garden Goat Quote” for two awards, the Versatile Blogger Award and the Inspirational Blogger Award.

Any also thanks (Hollywood style) to my incredible family, friends, readers whom without their interest, antics, drama, news and symptoms I would have nothing for fodder! I also acknowledge the talent God has seen fit to bestow upon me (beyond being a the Goddess of the Laundry) and I hope that I continue to make constructive use of same.

So for the seven interesting things about me…..

  1. I am a Canadian and mother of 9 children (yep, same dad, same marriage, no twins all singleton births and I have had 9 c-sections{!!})
  2. I am 5’11” and have red hair, I am of Irish decent with very long legs (??)
  3. I have artist tendencies and paint in watercolour (though only when I am all caught up on laundry…never often enough)
  4. I have never met a baby I did not like (that is a given!)
  5. I am frightened of every creepy crawlies but I am a “mommy-long-legs”
  6. I am the eldest of four daughters (no sons)
  7. Once I care about someone it is usually for life no matter what happens. Sometimes people understand this other times I am considered “psycho” (proudly)

List of blogs this Garden Goat has recently discovered ( I know it is to be a long list but I am rather new at this whole thing) and nominated for both awards are:

Musings of a mommy lawyer (very funny to read)

A very interesting blog about friendships what can go right and what can go wrong.

Two sisters sharing projects, ideas, lots of treats, cute stuff, subtle sarcasm and good times.

An honest, funny blog about the insanity that follows one trying to raise four kids!

Distracted Daddy is a working father with a two-year-old daughter, a focused wife and a flatulent pug.